Journal Article

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  • Conservation of extensively falling out hairs and feathers in a Rowland Ward’s 19th century diorama
    Castelain, L.
    Journal of Natural Science Collections, Volume 12, pages 126 - 135

    Pest attacks can lead to severe damage for taxidermy specimens. It is particularly damaging for items that have scientific or historical value. In a monumental diorama signed by Rowland Ward (1848-1912) that had been attacked by moths, important conservation measures had to be carried out. The entire fur of one koala and two fruit bats were completely detached from the skin, and two birds were losing their wing plumage. Fortunately, hairs and feathers were still located in their proper place. Tests were implemented in order to find a solution to preserve and undertake remedial conservation on the specimens. The method needed to be as least invasive and as most reversible as possible, and easily practicable because most of the work had to be done inside the undismantlable diorama (e.g. hair gluing was performed vertically and upside down). A mix of methyl cellulose with white glue was chosen to glue fur, while wings were injected with low viscosity hydroxypropyl cellulose diluted in acetone. The final result was very productive, and allowed for recolouring of the specimens.

    Keywords: Natural historyj, taxidermy, conservation, restoration, adhesive, diorama, Rowland Ward